Recovery depends on communication. Being able to express yourself openly and honestly and to have real conversations can make a significant difference in the quality of your recovery efforts. Improving your communication in recovery is necessary to ensure that you are conveying your messages effectively so that others truly understand you.
Words are powerful. Body language and tone of voice are powerful. All of these combine to provide you the opportunity to improve your communication, to engage in a positive manner with friends and family throughout your recovery.
Fear is a huge challenge when attempting to communicate with others while in recovery. You may fear being judged if you open up to others. You may fear a relapse, or you may have a fear of feeling like a fraud and being discovered if your communications are not taken well or are misunderstood. So, you adjust by simply not communicating.
Isolation in addiction can cause a person to actually lose the ability to communicate well. Being able to articulate your feelings is a skill you may have lost when in the depths of addiction. You may not be able to express your frustration and anger in a constructive way and that will just exacerbate the situation for you and for those around you.
Improving your communication in recovery can help you work through these fears. Being able to talk to others, whether family, friends, therapists, or recovery group members, is vital to your continued well-being.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HONESTY
You may have had to lie at some point in your addiction, lie to yourself and to others. You had to lie to get drugs, to cover up the fact that you were using drugs, and to deny the consequences within your own mind. Improving your communication in recovery depends on your ability to be honest.
Understand that people in your life want you to be honest with them. Tell them when you are hurting, when their words or actions have hurt you, when you are tempted to relapse, what fears you face, and any other messages you sincerely feel a need to convey. Open communication is the only way they will know what is going on inside you and the only way they will recognize how they can better support you.
WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU SAY IT
Don’t assume that other people know what you are talking about when you communicate with them. Those who have not been inside your world of addiction may not understand some of the slang terms you have used on a daily basis previously. Miscommunication typically stems from misunderstanding. Use clear terms and be patient with those who question what you are saying. They may just need a little clarification.
Often, it is not the words but the tone of voice that impact communication. You may get frustrated in trying to express yourself and that can come out in the way you say something. It is challenging to express fear, frustration, anger, and other negative feelings in a way that does not come across as completely negative. Take a breath, consider your words carefully, and then have a calm and rational conversation to ensure the situation does not escalate beyond your original intentions.
Just as with tone of voice, body language can betray your words. Improving your communication in recovery also requires that you become more aware of your facial expressions and the way you sit or stand when communicating with others. Relax your body. Hold your head up when speaking. Maintain appropriate eye contact. Control the urge to sneer or roll your eyes when a negative thought crosses your mind. Focus on your strength and let your body language follow.
LISTENING IS A COMMUNICATION SKILL
We sometimes think of communication as what we say or write to others. However, listening is a key component of communication, particularly in recovery. Not listening with intent can lead to misunderstanding, which, again, leads to frustration.
Practice your listening skills by focusing on the words being conveyed by the other person. Observe their body language. Don’t interrupt them. Put aside thoughts of what you are going to say next and truly listen to what they are saying in the moment. Then you can respond appropriately, with intent.
Contact BRC Recovery to Learn More About Improving Your Communication in Recovery
At BRC Recovery, we believe that everyone can find a better path if they truly want it for themselves. If you want to find out more about our services, we suggest you call BRC Recovery at 1-866-461-1759 to speak to our team.